Soon there will be social elections!

Posted by Frank Vande Voorde

A good relation between employees and employer is crucial to any organisation! In May 2020, social elections will take place in Belgium. Trade Unions will present the candidates but you as an employer have to organise them...

Representatives of the employees will be elected for two consultation bodies : 

  • The Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPPW)
  • The Work Council (WkCl)

If your organisation employs an average of 50 employees or more you need to have a CPPW. If it employs a 100 or more people you need to install a WkCl. 

In order to assist you we urge you to start with the organisation of preparation and we will explain to you the most important concepts and some steps to take. 

Some of those concepts are: 

  • The technical entity;
  • Your numbers of employees;
  • The timeline towards the elections;
  • The occult period ;
  • The budget.

The elections take place every four years and started in 1960. The representatives are protected employees, not only during their four years, but as soon as they are a candidate to be elected!

It is therefore very important to prepare yourself and be sure you do not end up with candidates ready to be part of your company. 

The period of the elections covers a period of 150 days but you need to be prepared long before that. 

First define the technical unit. The definition of this unit will impact the number of employees of the company. Note that Trade Unions may not agree and the court may have to decide finally. 

Once your technical unit defined, it is important how many people you employ. TO define this, the law describes two distinctive periods for different types of employees. 

For permanent employees the referred period is from 1/10/2018 until 30/09/2019.  

The temporary staffs you employ are important too. The period that is important is the 2ndquarter of 2019 from 1/4/2019 till 30/06/2019. Those temps who replace an absent person do not count. In order to be able to follow this up, the law demands that users of temporary staff keep a register of their temps during the reference period. 


Regarding the timeline, it is goof to know that the elections need to take place between 11/05 and 24/05/2020. You can say that the election period starts in December of this year, as you need to inform your employees for a first time on X-60 (X being the day you need go inform everyone about the date Y) and about who is on the list. 

Of course, you need to prepare those elections, and it needs time and resources to do so. By then, you need to know which software you will use for the elections and possibly the counting. There have been many discussions about the digitalisation of the whole process but this was not accepted during negotiation between social partners. 

Anyway, be aware of investments and budget allocation of the costs. Also the hidden cost such as but not limited to the time to organise to prepare and last but not least the time elected employees will spend if they are eleected. 

Most companies we have spoken to allocate the budget to their HR department, which seems to be the most logical cost place. 

We advise you to really plan and estimate the budget you will spend already this year and very probably.

Before the names of the offered candidates are published, every person who submits its candidature to be elected, be it for the CPPW or WkCl, is protected. Protected means very hard to be discussed and if you do so it will cost the company a lot of money. 

The period during which people (candidates) are protected without you knowing if they are on the list yet, is called the « occult period ». 

As you can read from the before mentioned, the social elections are important. They also are time consuming and expensive. It is up to the company to make it a well though process, with budget allocated and resources (competent) in place. 

All success and if you have remarks or observations, do not hesitate to contact us.

Your Rainbow Team

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Frank Vande Voorde

About Frank Vande Voorde

I launched Rainbow Resources Group with the acquisition of Rainbow Careers (now "Rainbow Admin Careers"), a company with more than 30 years experience on the Belgian market. I subsequently created additional specialised divisions such as "Rainbow HR Careers", "Rainbow Flex Careers" and “Rainbow Coaching”.

I started my career in Auditing and later acquired Advisory and Marketing experience in one of the Big Four. Moving into the recruitment sector, I have accumulated more than 25 years experience as a Consultant, Manager and Managing Director in a number of small and large, national and international, specialised recruitment firms.

After graduating from Solvay Business School, I trained at INSEAD. I am also a certified Business & Executive Coach and certified Mediator.

Passionate about business, specialised in permanent and temporary recruitment in particular, I foster and live by values such as trust and fairness.

I believe in the strength of a smile and that a picture speaks a thousand words.

Contact Frank Vande Voorde

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